Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Restaurant eating is making us fat!

Portion sizes are making you fat. The easy solution…reduce your portion sizes! Don’t roll your eyes at me…this works. Let me explain how.

I am a horrible cook so I eat out a lot. Eating out is one of the biggest challenges for most people when controlling portion sizes. Most people seem to feel uncomfortable sharing meals or simply eating only half the food on their plate. I am totally comfortable strategically ordering food for myself and for everyone at my table.

A recent example of a restaurant experience was a week ago with two of my girlfriends. We went to a cute little restaurant to eat after a meeting together. As we perused the menu, I suggested we might share something. The conversation went from two of us sharing a meal to the three of us sharing one appetizer and one entrée. Eyes rolled at me across the table as my friends telepathically shared with each other that I was crazy and they would be left hungry if they agreed to my ‘three share a meal’ suggestion. Because they are my good friends and I am quite persuasive stating that we could share one dessert this way, they agreed. I am certain it was the dessert option that convinced them!

We ordered a great ceviche dish with fresh fish and vegetables. It was so good and there was so much of it, we talked about how the dish was very filling. Next the lightly breaded chicken parmesan on a bed of linguini with cilantro sauce, mushrooms, broccoli, cheese, and fresh tomatoes. This entrée was actually served on a platter dish. This dish was the same size platter dish that my grandmother used to serve her meatloaf during family meals. (Nanny’s meatloaf was awesome!) So the plate used to serve my extended family an entire meat loaf was now put on our table to serve one entrée to the three of us. This was the same size platter dish sitting in front of every other individual at the tables around us. No one seemed to realize the family size entrée they were eating was a bit on the large size. And most people were cleaning their plates. No one else was sharing a meal.

As my girlfriends and I divided up our entrée portions to our small salad size plates; we ate, talked, laughed and got very full! We finished off the most amazing version of chick parm I have ever eaten and felt so content that we had no room for dessert. No room for dessert…shocking right? It’s true.

So the moral of this story is:
• Recognize that restaurants use huge dishes with double and triple size portions.
• Don’t allow other people’s negative comments (stemming from poor self restraint or concern for what others in the restaurant will think) affect your decision to cut calories.
• Share your meal or ask the waiter to box up half the entrée before bringing it to the table.

To some people we might have looked like poor girls sharing one entrée. Good thing we didn’t care what anyone thought because we felt like smart girls who did not leave the table with any extra weight!

Make my experience personal. Reduce you portion sizes for a few weeks and let me know how it affects your waistline.

Post on the Life is Mental Facebook Fanpage to let me know how this is working for you. I look forward to hearing from you!

To your healthy eating,

Kelly Stallings, MS, LPC